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Aja Locklear Resigns As Miss UNC-Pembroke

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PEMBROKE, N.C. — Aja Locklear notified University of North Carolina-Pembroke officials Tuesday that she will step down as the reigning Miss UNCP.

Locklear made her decision Monday. She had been found guilty of simple assault on Friday, stemming from a Sept. 27 incident.

"We regret that this situation has occurred," said Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for student affairs at UNCP. "In light of the circumstances in this case, we believe it is in the best interest of everyone involved that UNC-Pembroke accept Aja's decision to relinquish the title so that she can turn her full attention to the pursuit of her education.

"It is time to leave these unfortunate events behind and move forward."

A sophomore, Locklear won the title of Miss UNCP Jan. 30, 2003. As Miss UNCP, she was a contestant in the Miss North Carolina Pageant.

District Court Judge Stan Carmical found Locklear guilty of simple assault for her role in an altercation with Victoria Lowry.

Carmical ruled after hearing both women's side of the story in court on Friday. He also found Lowry guilty of stalking.

Carmical did not enter a judgment against either woman, simply telling them to stay away from each other and to stay out of trouble.

Locklear said she is not ashamed about what has happened. For her, Friday is history.

"I would say justice has been served," Locklear said. "The only thing we can do is accept the outcome and live with it."

Locklear said she will not compete in another pageant, but she will always be involved in them. The 19-year-old said now she will concentrate on school.

Though she was not convicted and the guilty charge will not appear on her record, Locklear said negative publicity from her case and her difficulty keeping up with her schoolwork during the case led her to resign.

"During the time these matters were pending in court, my studies have suffered, and much negative publicity has been cast on the Miss UNCP organization," Locklear said in her resignation letter. "It will take a great effort for me to academically rebound from this entire affair.

"Additionally, I believe that the focus of the upcoming pageant to determine Miss UNCP 2004 should be on those women competing in January and not on any behavior actually or allegedly engaged in by Miss UNCP 2003."

University officials decided the best course of action was to wait for the court to rule on the case. Locklear's decision to step down makes it unnecessary for the university to make any changes in reaction to the court's finding.

The 2003 UNCP Pageant runner-up, Robyn Baker, will be offered the opportunity to complete the one-year term as Miss UNCP.

"I thank you for the opportunities the Miss UNCP organization has provided me," Locklear said. "I apologize for any disrepute brought upon the organization on my account. I congratulate Robyn Baker on her new position, and I wish luck to all the contestants in the upcoming pageant."


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